Jul 21, 2008

The Dark Knight

Rating: 4 out of 5 Citizen Kanes

people. Get a grip.

Yes, The Dark Knight is a very good (if overlong) movie. Yes, Heath Ledger does give a memorable and movie-stealing performance as the Joker. And, yes, everybody else does a fine job as well.

But the hype ...

I try very hard to avoid getting my expectations inflated to the point that a movie disappoints me (or at least fails to thrill me as much as I am counting on). This worked very well with Iron Man, which had a phenomenal trailer that made me dread that the movie wouldn't live up to it (luckily, it pretty much did). Tedwrd and I would constantly add the comment, "It's gonna suck," to the end of any discussion of Iron Man to keep ourselves grounded.

(It didn't work as well for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which, unfortunately, did kinda suck.)

I'm not going to go on and on about The Dark Knight, since you've probably heard all there is to hear about it already. I liked it, but it was impossible for me to like it as much as every reviewer out there seems to think I should. It does have flaws, including an excessive running time that still manages to feel like Harvey Dent's character arc is too compressed.

But the Joker is pretty fantastic. I've read several reviews that come off as a bit apologist in retrospect because they insist that everybody else is right up there with Ledger, performance-wise. That's just not the case. He's legitimately phenomenal, and Aaron Eckhart is pretty great as D.A. Harvey Dent. Christian Bale is great as Bruce Wayne, but his Batman growl sounds like he's doing a bad Clint Eastwood impression.

I like Maggie Gyllenhaal, but I don't share the disdain for Katie Holmes' performance in Batman Begins, and I didn't think Gyllenhaal was a huge improvement. She was adequate, in a part that was kind of hit-and-miss, writing wise. I'm not sure Holmes would have been any worse.

Morgan Freeman (as Lucius Fox) got more to do in this one, but Michael Caine (as Alfred) got less. Frankly, I'm a bigger Caine than Freeman fan, so this was not a plus for me.

Still and all, it's an excellent film. Just remember that it isn't the greatest thing since the introduction of the moving picture and you may enjoy it more.

Addendum: The soundtrack, by the way, is frigging fantastic.

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